Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
The more things change, the more they are the same, only cheaper. The 2011 list of tech gifts for seniors is still pretty accurate in terms of categories – tablets, eReaders and eBooks, game-related and music-related. But be thankful at this time of year, the world of tech keeps on keeping on. There are more variants of each, plus some new items to consider. (Prices are all over the place, so they're not included here.) If you're in aging services or senior housing, pass some ideas along to residents or clients, check out the revised catalog at ElderLuxe or consider other consumer-oriented examples like:
Tablet time and social connection. Tablets are increasingly all-in-one devices -- screen, computer, software – that in many ways are tailored for seniors. And now there are so many to choose from – the Kindle Fire might have outsold the iPad mini on Black Friday – who knew? It looks like book portability wins at least at price simplicity – sigh, what if I just want to read a book? Maybe there will be a post-CES shakeout of this gaggle of gizmos. But despite tablet wars, the ‘regular’ iPad with a decent stand to rest it on still seems to have the best screen image (big, bright) for looking at family videos and Skyping.
Phones – fixed, mobile, and/or smart. A senior safety home telephone system -- like VTech’s CareLine phone -- could be useful. It has large buttons, photo speed dial, visual ring, an integrated pendant and it's at Radio Shack. Take a look at a new two-way video system from VideoCare. Bet you didn’t know that 34% of the 65+ are texting on their phones. So maybe it is time for a smart phone like the Jitterbug Touch or even the “designed for humans” – once it is set up properly – Samsung Galaxy S III. For iPhone aficionados, there is the terrific for seniors iPhone 5 or, ya gotta love it, even a book about overcoming its mysteries.
Health management and fitness -- better is better. These are the times that try our soles -- so many ways to be fit, you would think that more of them would be marketed to seniors -- maybe next year. In the meantime, Body Media mentions seniors in its FAQ (I guess that is a form of marketing). For those of you yearning to build something, here is the link to the Fitbit App Gallery. Go forth and track both activity and non-movement.
Taking the right med – and staying safe. If you want to manage your medications visually – there’s an app for that from Irody. And there are new fall detecting watches from SafetyCare and Smart-Monitor The latter originally has marketed to those with seizures -- that enables alerts and tracks wrist movement patterns like shaking or falls – in an online app.
Reminders – dementia care and wandering. There is always something to remember – and with the onset of dementia, not so easy. So there’s a Memo touchpad for reminders or a GeriJoy social companion, exhibiting at the mHealth Summit. Or maybe a person is living independently but a GPS tracking system would reassure family – or maybe a GPS-capable shoe would, uh, fit.
More links and add your own – comments welcome. As long as you’re researching, don’t forget a few of the other product announcement links on this site – smartphone apps for caregivers, new tech announcements, an updated Market Overview and Vendor Appendix. And finally, please add your own suggested and new technologies that are not included here. Just click on Add New Comment and type away. All the best for shopping and helping seniors in and around your world!